News / USA

    Apprenticeships Offer Job Security in Uncertain US Economy

    Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Worki
    X
    Aru Pande
    February 04, 2016 12:39 AM
    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Aru Pande

    Just outside Washington, D.C., future electrical workers are stooped over tables in a Lanham, Maryland, classroom — bending and cutting wires as they prepare to install switches.

    Hands-on skills, apprentice Denise Long says, will serve her well when she is out on the job.

    “What they teach you here, if you take it and keep the knowledge and retain it and use it, it will definitely make you a better worker. And also that increases your chance of keeping a job and everything,” Long said.

    The 22-year-old was not sure what she wanted to do until she saw her older brother go through an apprenticeship program and end up with a full-time job as an electrician.

    Denise Long is enrolled in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union's a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.
    Denise Long is enrolled in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union's a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.

    “My brother was in a financial bind before, but it really helped him keep things together,” Long noted. “It gives you a more stable feeling, you look forward to it — actually being stable and saving up that money.”

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union runs a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program during which students are trained as electrical and telecommunication workers, while earning a paycheck. They spend one day every two weeks in the classroom and the remaining days on the job.

    Anyone can apply for the program and first-year apprentices who have no experience make nearly $20 an hour with benefits.

    Kevin Burton, assistant director of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC), says each year, up to 200 graduates enter the workforce with a job that includes health benefits, a pension and, most important of all, job security.

    "College is not necessarily a guarantee for a job," Burton said. "I might go to college and not even pursue the field that my degree is in, which is minimal stability. Here at the Local 26 apprenticeship program, we get to give people a skill that they can do anywhere in the country.”

    Kevin Burton is the assistant director of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC).
    Kevin Burton is the assistant director of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC).

    Expanding apprenticeships

    Expanding access to such workforce training programs has been an initiative of President Barack Obama, who toured the Lanham training center during a visit in 2010.

    Last year, his administration announced $175 million in grants for 46 public-private partnerships to expand apprenticeships as another path to the American middle class.

    During a September 9, 2014, speech at a community college in Warren, Michigan, Obama announced the new investment, while noting the benefits of such hands-on training.  

    “We want to give workers across America the same chance that you have to get real-world experience that leads directly to a good job. The average starting wage for a worker who’s finished an apprenticeship is now more than $50,000 a year,” the president said.

    During his remarks at Macomb Community College, Obama noted that Britain has 15 times as many apprentices as the United States, on a per capita basis; Germany, 16 times as many. Such opportunities not only make American workers more competitive, he said, but also provide greater financial stability in the long term.

    “Whether it’s through a community college, an apprenticeship program, upgrading your skills pays off. The unemployment rate for those folks are lower, and they’re going to earn more money over their lifetimes,” Obama said.  

    Financial stability

    This stability was a draw for 26-year-old Paul Amancio.

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union runs a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.
    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union runs a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.

    After serving seven years in the Air Force, he was not sure what he would do after retiring from active duty until he enrolled in the JATC apprenticeship program.

    “It can be tough if you are not working on a skill set to apply to the future employer that you plan on going to. It won’t be tough if you actually try and focus on those skill sets,” the young father said during a break from class.

    Amancio and other apprentices at the center are honing what they hope will be lifetime skills that lead to full-time electrical or telecommunications work and long-term financial stability.

    “A lot of major companies started to take away their pension plans, and that really helped me appreciate the pension plans we have here,” Burton said. “Just thinking when I become older — how am I going to take care of myself? I know the answer to that. And there a lot of Americans who can’t say they know the answer to that.”

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora